The battle of New York (Even though one team is in Jersey) is less than 48-hours away and like we do every week, it is time to get to know our enemy. The boys over at UltimateNYG Blog were cool enough to answer some questions about the Giants. I ask Glenn Warciski about Perry Fewell, attacking Eli Manning, Victor Cruz's impact and the Giants running game. If you want to hear my responses to his questions about the Bills, be sure to check out his site.
1) How would you assess the job Perry Fewell has done for you guys for the last season and a half? At UltimateNYG, we are not enamored with Perry Fewell. Back in January, Andy Furman wrote the following about Fewell: What were the Cornerbacks and Safeties being taught to do in Giants training camp this past summer by Perry Fewell? They were specifically told to watch the eyes of the opposing QB. This is what I apologetically call: BUILT TO FAIL. The methodology preys on the weaker QBs who are unskilled and telegraph their intentions. Add Cover 2 with some zone, stir, mix, and the result is more than a few interceptions. But we know that when the Giants faced the better QBs, the opposing QB's decisions would be faster, with timed routes and knowledgeable awareness of poaching. This was why Pete Furman, one of our experts at UltimateNYG.com, affectionately called the INTs vs the weaker QBs "fool's gold." This year, the Giants pass defense has been so porous against inferior quarterbacks. Fewell's defense has allowed weaker quarterbacks to carve them up. Journeyman Redskins quarterback, Rex Grossman, and Seattle's combination of Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst, lit up the Giants by throwing for over 300 yards respectively. With a depleted receiver corps., Rams quarterback Sam Bradford was able to throw for over 300 yards, too. Besides allowing copious amounts of passing yards, the Giants run defense has been awful. McCoy and Wells rushed for over 100 yards. Seattle's Marshawn Lynch was a shade under 100 yards with 98. The Giants have problems and Fewell better get this fixed against Buffalo. Last year, after squandering a 31-10 lead against the Eagles with 8 minutes left, Fewell was not held accountable. Quite frankly, I am surprised he still has a job with the Giants.
2) If you are the Bills defensive coordinator, how would you attack Eli Manning?
The Giants are having trouble running the football. Opposing defenses have been loading the box with extra defenders, and Buffalo should do the same. Force the Giants into 3rd and longs and blitz Eli, who is a streaky quarterback. Do not let him get into any kind of rhythm. More importantly, this Giants offense line is a shell of its old self. Gone are O'Hara and Seubert. McKenzie is running on fumes. And it appears their best lineman, Chris Snee, will not play on Sunday. And Kevin Gilbride, who we call Killdrive, spreads the field with 4 WR. This leaves the Giants with 5 blocking offensive linemen. Right now, the line is struggling with their pass protection. Last year, Eli was sacked only 16 times. However, this year is a different story. Eli has been sacked 14 times through 5 games.
3) The Giants lost Steve Smith and Kevin Boss over the summer, who have the Giants relied on to replace those catches?
Thankfully, TE Jake Ballard and WR Victor Cruz have been pleasant surpises. Through five games, Ballard has 10 catches for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cruz has been a playmaker, catching 19 passes for 386 yards and 3 touchdowns. More importantly, Cruz is averaging 20.3 yards per catch. Despite Ballard and Cruz playing well, Steve Smith is missed because of his uncanny ability to get open on third down. To date, Smith has not made significant contributions to his new team, the Eagles. With Boss, the Giants miss his blocking, while Ballard is not as polished. According to Giants analyst Carl Banks, on running plays, the Giants TE's are having difficulty setting the edge.
4) How has Tom Coughlin been for you guys lately? Do you think he needs to make the playoffs in order to save his job?
After three straight seasons in which they collapsed, Coughlin should have been fired at the end of the 2010 campaign. In the off season, the Giants extended Coughlin to a one year extension. This is a lame endorsement by management. Indeed, if Coughlin's team collapses for a fourth straight time and they do not make the playoffs, he will be fired.
5) Currently, you guys are ranked 28th in rushing. What has happened to New York's power running game they use to have with Bradshaw and Jacobs?
The Giants have some new faces on their offensive line- Center David Baas and LT William Beatty. And some old faces are starting to wear down. Playing on the last year of his current contract, 11 year RT Kareem McKenzie will most likely not be back next year. Former LT David Diehl was moved back to his original position at guard. Perhaps the Giants can right the ship. But I am not sold. Unless they are in a two TE formation, the Giants are having difficulty running the football. We can hope offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride uses more two TE sets. But you know Gilbride, too.
6) The Bills offensively seem to be the type of team that likes to spread the field and rely on quick passes. Are the Giants corners depth chart deep enough to stop the Bills 4-wide sets?
The Giants have a ferocious pass rush. But they are losing the battle on first downs. So if you gain five or six yards on first down on them, the pass rush is not a factor. Opposing teams know how to short circuit this formidable pass rush. Have your quarterback take short drops and get rid of the ball quickly. Watching Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, I notice that he gets rid of the ball quickly. So I believe he will have a very good game against the Giants.
7) Who wins this game and why?
It depends on what Giants team shows up. If the Giants limit their turnovers and penalties, they can win this game. This game is a litmus test for Buffalo. Yes. The Bills are 4-1. They came from behind to defeat New England and Oakland at home. They lost to a Bengals team on the road. Defeated an anemic Kansas City team on the road. And if the Eagles do not turn the ball over and make dumb penalties, they might have lost. I believe the Bills are for real. They will come into PSL stadium and defeat the Giants.